The 10 Best Outdoor Solar Lights of 2023

The Pearlstar Vintage Solar lamp is our top choice for a renewable glow.

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Outdoor lights

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Over the past several years, solar lights have been improving by leaps and bound. They let you harness the incredible power of the sun right in your own backyard, on a patio, or even out on the balcony. You only need a few hours of sunlight each day at the spot you want to hang the lights. Then they pretty much do the rest of the work on their own. 

LED lights powered by the sun have so many benefits. For starters, high-quality LED lights last longer than older incandescent lightbulbs. They’re much easier to install since you won’t need any external outlets or wiring. They are incredibly efficient, adding zero cost to your electricity bill. You might pay a bit more for them upfront, but if you look at a five year time period (yes, they should last that long), they’ll actually cost about half as much compared to traditional lights. 

Here are the best outdoor solar lights:

Best Overall

Pearlstar Vintage Solar Lamp

5
Vintage Solar Light

Courtesy of Amazon

This light has it all—style, character, and efficiency. It has a white LED Edison-style bulb, giving it a great vintage look for a porch or deck. The copper framing is waterproof and weatherproof, so you don’t have to worry about leaving it out in rain or snow.

The light is just over 14 inches long with the handle or 8.5 inches without. It has an automatic sensor, so it turns off during the day and then on at night. This is a conversation piece, whether you buy a single light or a few to frame a patio.

Price at time of publish: $24

Best Motion Sensor Lights

Baxia Technology 28 LED Solar Motion Sensor Security Wall Lights

5
Baxia Technology 28 LED Solar Motion Sensor Security Wall Lights

Amazon

These motion sensors work well as spot lights or security lights, giving you peace of mind without having to run extra wires or buy an expensive system. The fast-charging solar panel converts at a rate of up to 17% to power 24 LEDs.

The sensor detects motion up to 5 meters away, which triggers the light to shine for 30 seconds. This four-pack of lights are easy to install on any fence post, wall, or flat surface.

Price at time of publish: $33

Best Path Light

Hampton Bay Solar Warm White Landscape Path Lights, 10-Pack

4.6
Hampton Bay Solar Warm White Landscape Path Light, 10-Pack

Courtesy of Home Depot

These path lights have a crackled effect that looks sparkly at night, although one of our testers noted that this style might look broken at a quick glance. Nonetheless, Hampton Bay's solar lights earned a spot on our list thanks to their excellent durability and easy set up. They functioned well after a freeze test and getting hit by a golf ball. The lights are good and bright, and an excellent value.

Price at time of publish: $146

Best Fairy Lights

Brightown LED Solar Powered Fairy Lights

4.5
Brightown LED Solar Powered Fairy Lights

Courtesy of Amazon

There’s something about fairy lights that create a magical scene, and these definitely won’t disappoint. You’ll find seven total colors to choose from, all on strands that are 33 feet long with 100 LED bulbs. The lights also have eight modes to choose from, including waves, fireflies, twinkle, and more.

These efficient lights have a built-in 800 milliampere-hour rechargeable battery and convert at a rate of 19%, thanks in part to the rotating panel, so you can easily aim it at the sun. After a full charge, expect the lights to last between six to ten hours. They have a weather resistance rating (IP65), and our testers noted they worked just fine after being exposed to freezing temperatures.

Price at time of publish: $32

Best String Lights

Brightech Ambiance Pro Solar String Lights

4.6
Brightech Ambience Pro Solar Non Hanging Patio Lights

Amazon

Miniature Edison bulbs can add style to just about any space. These 27-foot LED string lights will help you create a soft, warm ambiance in any outdoor space. They are one of the most heavy-duty, weatherproof string lights on the market with shatterproof S14 bulbs, so you don’t worry about leaving them up throughout the year.

They also come with a three-year warranty, but they held up well during our durability tests. The lights will last up to six hours on a single charge. Our tester noted that although the bulbs are plastic, they fell high-quality and look nice. One of the only down sides is that you can't connect multiple strings of these lights together.

Price at time of publish: $44

Best Step Lights

Bell + Howell Solar Powered LED Pathway Light Pack

Bell + Howell Solar Powered LED Pathway Lights

Here’s another LED light where you don’t have to worry about an on/off switch. The lights shine upwards, and sit flush to the ground. Just turn the initial switch on, and then push the spike into the ground. The stainless steel lights turn on a dusk and off at dawn, thanks to an automatic light sensor.

Each light has a 4.5 inch dimeter, and on a full charge offer 10 hours of light. You can easily pick up and move these lights anywhere you want or need. They’d be perfect for gardens, pathways, stairs, or take them with you camping. They light walkways well, but aren't ideal for uplighting trees or other taller landscape features.

Price at time of publish: $20

Best Wall Lights

Greluna Outdoor Solar Wall Lights

Gerluna Wall Lights

Courtesy of Amazon

Here’s another one that comes with built-in color options. Stick with the traditional, warm white (3,000 Kelvin) or change it up to one of six other colors.

Each individual light (these come in a pack of eight) is pretty small at only 4.7 inches long and 3.5 inches wide. Yet the built-in rechargeable battery packs a big punch at 1.2 volts and 600 milliamp hours. After six hours of sunlight, the light can stay lit for up to eight hours. With their vintage look and being easy to install, they’re one of the most stylish and quickest ways to light up your outdoor space.

Best Color-Changing Lights

B BOCHAMTEC Solar Flame Flickering Torch

B BOCHAMTEC Solar Flame Flickering Torch

Amazon

Change the color of these LED lights depending on your mood with just a quick tap of the remote. With 13 colors to choose from (or put it on a rotation), you can choose your favorite color or create the right look based on a certain season or holiday. These flickering lights have an IP65 rating, meaning they meets high weatherproofing standards, so you can feel good about leaving them outside year-round.

The lights are available with a spike base or a flat tabletop option, so take your pick. You can also recharge them through USB in case you don’t get enough sun on a cloudy day. You should get 12-16 hours of light out of a full charge.

Price at time of publish: $47

Best Mason Jar Lights

Cooo Eight Pack Lids Solar Powered Fairy Lights

Cooo Eight Pack Lids Solar Powered Fairy Lights

Amazon

This kit will give you everything you need to create unique hanging lanterns. All you have to do is add the jars! You’ll get eight sets of lids, handles, and lights to go inside.

These lights have an IP68 rating, so you won’t have to worry about moisture getting in to corrode the batteries. This light recently went through a redesign, giving you a much higher sunlight to light conversion (aka, a longer lasting light). You can also use these indoors. If you don’t quite get enough sun on a regular basis, no worries. The battery is replaceable.

Price at time of publish: $57

Just for Fun

JSOT Hanging Pineapple Lights

Hanging Pineapple Lights

Courtesy of Amazon

Decorative solar lights have definitely come a long way, and these pineapple lights are just one example of the fun solar light designs that can brighten up any space. The 60 LED lights have a built-in panel at the top of the pineapple (surrounded by the "leaves"), so you really just hang and go.

They’ll stay lit for six to eight hours on a full charge. These would be perfect for the pineapple fan in your life or just anyone who appreciates tropical garden decor. Buy a single one or fill your space with pineapples.

Price at time of publish: $29

Final Verdict

Our top pick for an outdoor solar light is the Pearlstar Vintage Solar Lamp. But if you’re looking for a motion sensor light that won’t stay on all night, consider Baxia’s Solar Motion Sensor Security Wall Lights

What to Consider When Shopping for Outdoor Solar Lights

Lighting Style

With the proliferation of affordable LED lights and PV panels, there are thousands of lighting designs on the market that are all powered by the sun. To decide what lighting style is best for you, you’ll want to consider where you'll place your light, how bright you’d like it to be, and what look or style you’re after. 

For example, if you want to see where you’re walking at night, and in-ground path light is likely the best option. Look for lights with more lumens, which means a brighter LED. If you want to add some warm ambiance lighting that doesn’t need to be super bright, string lights or even fairy lights might better suit your taste.

Solar Panel Placement

Many of the lights on this list have a built-in solar panel that right on top of the light. This means that you’ll want to place you light in a spot that get full sunlight during the day, so that the light can get a full charge. If this isn’t an option, then you might want to consider one of the string lights on our list, which have a separate solar panel that is connected via a cable and can be placed further from the light itself to get optimal sun.

Automatic Shut-Off

Many solar lights have a sensor that turns the light on when it’s dark and off when the sun rises again. In a lot of cases, turning this sensor off means the light says off and doesn’t necessarily charge. So, if you don’t want your light to shine every night, you’ll also need to remember to turn the device back on when you want light again.

Alternate Charging Options

Some solar lights have the option to charge via a wall plug or a USB cable. If you’re worried about not getting sun year-round, this can be a good option. 

Weather Rating and Warranty

If you live in a place with harsh weather, you’ll want a light that has a third-party rating for weather resistance, most commonly IP65. Another way to have confidence in your investment is to look for a light with a longer warranty, with two years at least. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

Our team has tested dozens of solar lights, to gain real-world insights. To make this list, we combined testing results, user reviews, and rigorous market research to find the best solar lights available. Not every product on this list has been tested, but every product has been evaluated for value and good design.